Well known businessman and philanthropist, Siraj Ali has been awarded the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who ‘Outstanding Contribution’ Award 2011 for his long standing contribution to the hospitality and catering industry.
He was awarded at the British Bangladeshi: Who’s Who annual gala event on 13 October at The Waterlily Business Centre, East London.
Muhammad Siraj Ali, who has regularly featured in the previous four British Bangladeshi Who’s Who publications as one of the most influential British Bangladeshis in Britain, was presented the prestigious award by Executive Deputy Mayor of London Borough of Tower Hamlets Cllr Ohid Ahmed.
The British Bangladeshi Who’s Who event, organised by Bangla Mirror also saw the launch of this year’s British Bangladeshi Who’s Who publication.
Similar to the Sunday Times Rich List, British Bangladeshis: Who’s Who is an annual publication by the Bangla Mirror, comprising of the most successful, influential and wealthy members of the Bangladeshi community in Britain. The list includes individuals from various sectors and professions who are at the top of their respective industries, supported by the Her Majesty The Queen, House of Commons, David Cameron and the High Commission for the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Muhammad Siraj Ali is a pioneering force behind the introduction of Indian Cuisine in the Essex region. Vice-Chairman of The Bangladeshi Catering Association (Essex region) and owner of The Maharaja in Essex, Siraj Ali has been making an impact in the Indian catering industry since the 1970s, with a career spanning 40 years.
Winner of Channel S Awards 2009 ‘Contribution to the Community’ Award – London and South East of England and Bangladesh Catering Association Caterer of the Year South East, at the Bangladesh Catering Association Awards 2009, Siraj Ali’s 20 year long passion for charity has seen his restaurant, The Maharaja recognised as the first to develop the element of social responsibility within Essex.
Started in 1991, Siraj Ali’s Charity Nights at the Maharaja have been a phenomenal success, raising close to £2 million pounds for hundreds of charitable causes including; Multiple Sclerosis Society, NSPCC, British Red Cross and Breast Cancer Awareness amongst others.
The Maharaja was chosen by MPs to cater for the launch of the first nationwide Bangladesh Festival of Food and Culture at the House of Commons in 2001. In 2008, the Maharaja was again chosen by MPs to represent the South East in the Tiffin Cup Curry Awards, winning second runner up position. In 2008 and 2009, the Maharaja was shortlisted as one of the finalists in the British Curry Awards for London and South East.
Muhammad Siraj Ali said: “This award is a great honour, not only for me but for the British Bangladeshi community, it is a reflection of our past, present and future. Without our forefathers who struggled hand to mouth to provide for their families, we would not be in a position to see British Bangladeshis thrive. Today, it is heart warming to see our hard work be recognised, for us to become role models for our children who are going on to achieve great things, pursuing careers and entering parliament as MPs representing our community, an immensely proud achievement for British Bangladeshis, which I am sure will continue in the future”
The Bangladeshi community has been an integral part of Britain for nearly 100 years. British Bangladeshi’s have excelled in many respects and in recognition of this progress and achievement, the important event marks a celebration of success, integration and achievement by the British Bangladeshi Community and recognises the continuous efforts of the young and old to better the lives and society of the British Bangladeshi people.
Successful British Bangladeshi’s are the heart of our community and our success flows from their talents, their energy and their ability to aim higher and achieve. In fact, such is our influence on the UK economy that collectively, with other Asian groups, the combined disposable income of ethnic minorities in the UK is £32bn, according to trade body the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).
Present at the event were the Who’s Who chief editor Abdul Karim Goni, Channel S TV founder chairman Mahee Ferdaus Jalil, Canary Wharf Group’s head of community affairs Zakir Khan, main sponsors Jasim Uddin and Suman Uddin, Media Link MD Mujibul Islam, Square Mile Insurance Service Limited MD David Royston, Water Lilly directors MK Jaman Jewel and Sheikh Nurul Islam Jitu, Water Lilly MD Afaz Miah, Film Asia MD Mohammed Shahajahan, Businessman Oli Khan, Parvez Ahmed, Eastern Pride director Majhar Ali, Who’s Who team member barrister Anis Rahman OBE, Journalist Matiar Chowdhury, Selim Rahman and barrister Anwar Babul Miah.